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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 17, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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new democrat coalition. on washington journal we talked to him about the new democrat political agenda and foreign policy. this is 45 minutes. , member of the foreign affairs committee. let us start with the first page of "the new york times." the headline, president obama considering talks with putin on syrian crisis. should he start talking to vladimir putin about syria decker -- about syria? guest: absolutely. burden ofre i put the the so-called cold war on president obama's shoulders right i think what prudent -- putin is engaged
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in is reprehensible. host: what does the unit is -- the united states do? theconflict has dominated report -- the obama administration. needs to look at a little bit of history with respect to russia and the former soviet union and syria. syria is the oldest client state in the middle east for the soviet union and now russia. the relationship goes back decades. assad's father cemented that relationship, so the prime military supplier of nuclear technology, supplier of training and equipping of the military in syria was the soviet union and now russia. it was no coincidence, for putinle, that prudent -- and russia negotiated an
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them to remove chemical weapons which were the former this -- soviet union and russia. relationshipd, old . they are not going to give up easily on that. problem we have got is even in military,he syrian they are kind of crumbling. assad'ss -- a solid -- position in syria continues to erode. think qiagen -- putin has some motivation in trying to rescue the situation before death collapse or host: so the united states is training rebels were trying to fight a sod -- assad.
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what is this doing to long-term relationship between the united states and russia? there is really nothing new with the united states and russia being on opposite sides of conflict, and in fact even using them as surrogate opportunities to try to thrust and perry with each other. this is a very different situation -- difficult situation. the russians are replacing equipment. that is not a new thing. i'm not sure it is going to be saw'sient to solidify a assad's crumbling base. half the population is now on the move. they are refugees are they are displaced in the country. it is an unprecedented situation. and i think the other thing we need to remember is the united the ability of the
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united states to control outcomes in syria is extremely limited. is soutin has discovered are russia's opportunities for control. to control what happens on the ground is pretty limited. it is not like president obama has liberally ignored a situation and if only he had paid attention we could have had a different set of outcomes. am -- i have been a student of the region for a long time. host: i want to show our viewers a graphic in "the new york times." it takes up an entire page. each of these dots represents a person killed in the syrian war since its beginning. that is two hundred thousand people. approximately 29,000 have died in shootings and mass killing rate 27,000 died in mortar and rocket attacks. 18,000 have been killed in air attacks.
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8800 died after being kidnapped, detained, or tortured. others died after being exposed chemicals. 670 medical workers have been killed. 565 have been killed by starvation, dehydration, or lack of medical care. syrians are leaving in mass. aid groups are criticizing the united states for not taking on more. guest: you mean refugees jacket -- you mean refugees? host: yes. guest: the immediate haven for refugees ought to be the region itself. the gulf states need to step up to this challenge. and we need to do our fair share, as do europeans. but that also involve careful screening. given the complexity of the situation within syria and just outside of syria, the work we
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need to be doing is accepting the last thing- we need to be doing is accepting folks were part of the problem. having said that, there is a humanitarian crisis that we have to help, and most certainly we can do more. host: front page of the paper today saying hungry -- hungary stopow erected a fence to migrants who are trying to get to germany and other countries. germany has no call for an emergency european meeting. you agree with this move to try to keep these people who are trying to escape in the area? hungarian officials are saying is they have made it out of syria to turkey, they are safe. there is no reason for them to hungary. to guest: i would hope that the europeans can come up with a
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unified, humane approach to this crisis. people are risking life and limb. the image of a young baby facedown on a beach, whose parents were trying to flee -- the violence you just recounted, i think ought to be a very sober reminder are all of us of the nature of this crisis. we are talking about fellow human beings. parochial aside concerns, religious concerns. as people who have a value system that says a human being comes first, let's respond to this crisis. i would hope that this would be the response of european leadership. hungary is a small country. their resources are somewhat limited. but they are part of the eu, they are part of nato. i would hope that upon reflection the prime minister would join with his colleagues
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in europe to a more in-depth that addresses the humanitarian crisis. host: our guest is congressman gerald connolly gerald connolly, democrat of virginia. let's talk about domestic issues. anthony is up first in st. paul, minnesota. democrat. caller: good morning. host: good morning. this with thee on foreign intimacy policy is that we need to start -- what i keep hearing, and don't cut me off, but the united states seems to have this issue with the arabs or persians, whoever, over in the middle east. enough totupid believe everyone will shoot off a bomb. but we all have to understand that nation means mutual destruction.
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we give a lot of money to israel and we don't get anything back. thathole argument has been it is their land and they will give it back. we should demand something for what we give, that is basically it. thank you very much. i heard that as an opinion, i am not sure i can comment on it opinion. host: what would you say to him in that we are not risk -- we are not demanding something in return in the aid we give to egypt and other countries in that area? guest: the united states and israel have had a deep and abiding relationship. they are a strong ally. i think that is going to continue. i think israel remains an island of stability in a sea of instability in the region. and i think that relationship matters now more than ever given what we are witnessing with these neighboring states. that is not a relationship i think we should abandon.
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as to the question of, do we demand an up of israel, it is a very complex relationship. there is give and take. we receive as well as give. i don't think it is as simple as the caller presented at all. it is a very valuable and important relationship. critical right now in terms of stability. host: are you -- but they are against us nuclear agreement. guest: the government of israel. clarificationat that you just made, you voted for approval? guest: i think the prime minister of israel and his ambassador here in washington is dead wrong. their solution would guarantee their fears would be realized. the only way to roll back the nuclear capability of iran right
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now is as agreement. prime minister netanyahu is not has offered an alternative. people as it -- people i respect, like senator joe lieberman, has said say we just cannot sell it. let's go back to the negotiating table and come up with a better idea. furthermore, to me, it is specious logic is not delusional to believe that the united states having taken the lead in these negotiations could say to ,is leadership partners in iran we have changed our mind about our own agreement. we are going to announce it. come back to the table and the tough new negotiations. either the way, we reserve apparently the really -- the right to resort -- were not sent to.
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it would erode u.s. credibility. none of those negotiating partners, including germany, france, the u.k., russia, and china, let alone iran, would agree to come back to the table. and the very sanctions regime we are concerned about would collapse. we need to enforce the sanctions , which they have not. furthermore, the agreement rolled back existing capability for the first time. uranium has to be transported out of the country. 3.67%,el of enrichment, nowhere near it. plutonium actually has to be .ismantled in perpetuity inspections regimes, at the snap of a finger, with the exception of undisclosed sites. what that means is, if somebody
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says i don't know what is going on over there. maybe nothing. we have to look at it. that has a delay, but it is a delay to review it among our partners, and iran only has three days, not 24, to comply. not to appeal, they have to comply. i think it is a pretty robust regime. so do a lot of back's diplomats, so do a lot of republicans who cannot vote on the deal, like former secretary of state colin powell. they see this for what it is worth, which is a guarantor of a nonnuclear iran. and an avoidance of the adoption of military insurrection. we will go to michigan, iraq, an independent. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: sir, why don't they use
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the word atomic, it's that is calling it nuclear? you are dealing with the atomic energy it is an atomic bomb. i think you folks in washington need to look at more pictures of the disaster that we put down on hiroshima and nagasaki with the disintegration of people's skin and bones. you are still paying for it. it caused disaster. bomb, and youc need to look at more pictures and realize how much we have been spending to apologize for what we did, and we said never again. never again means never again. how many nuclear physicist are there out there who can tell you what enrichment looks like, or what the ingredients are? who are these people who are being trained in the united states for what to look for,
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showing that we have an atomic arsenal and we have stuff sticking out of the ground? thank you. have a nice day. god bless america. guest: thank you. with respect to who are these , one of these is the secretary of energy to his the -- who is a nuclear physicist. he was very valuable in making sure the technical details what -- were met. z and wesecretary moni are so blessed to have him serving our country. that was a huge asset. if you prefer the word atomics, that is fine. you can call it atomic. i think it does not matter whether you use atomic or nuclear. it is what we want to avoid. we do not want an atomic arms, nuclear armed iran, capable of
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having and deploying an atomic weapon. that is the goal. i was proud support the agreement, and as i said, i understand that reasonable people might come to other perspectives about what they might find, but i have yet to hear a single critic offer anything like a tenable alternative. you need an alternative if you want to vote no. host: we go to new hampshire, mark, and atkinson, new hampshire, a republican. caller: good morning. guest: how are things up in new hampshire? nice and cool this morning. not bad. what happens if this deal falls apart in iran? second of all, you say israel is our ally, but you forget in 1950 they tried to start a war
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between us and egypt. 67. they tried it to blow up our uss liberty. they were trying to start a war between us and egypt. i will leave you with that thought. guest: i think you meant in 1956, the suez crisis. yes, look, we have our , but weces with israel agree on a lot more than we disagree. obviously the obama administration has been pushing the netanyahu government, the current government of israel, to be more forthcoming about settlements, more forthcoming about a two state solution, more forthcoming about engaging with the palestinians to achieve that. we also have been prodding the who unfortunately pulled back at the last moment in terms of sitting down and having real negotiation with the state of israel.
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that is a challenge as well. no relationship is without problems. every family has its differences. sometimes they are pretty severe. that does not mean we are not family and that does not mean we do not share a lot more in common than not. i think that characterizes the relationship we have. host: jorge is next in albuquerque, new mexico, democrat. good morning. caller: good morning. i just wanted to point out the fact that the syrians, and really all people, have only two options. fight or flight. int is why i thank god here america we have the second amendment, the right to bear arms, so we can protect ourselves and our property. thank you. guest: i don't know. i don't think the lack of weapons, because of the lack of a second amendment in syria is the problem. i think quite the opposite, there are too many weapons floating around. i agree with you, the options
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are pretty limited. fight or flight. that is the tragedy of syria today or it but what caused that? the lack of any political base. the lack of these people to express himself openly. the lack of free expression with respect to the ballot box to elect a government of their choosing. havethat happens, when you percent a long. of time and authoritarian s,ctatorship under the assad that always breeds extremism. that is that we are witnessing in syria today and it is destroying the country as we know it. host: los angeles, eddie, an independent. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a couple questions to ask. one is about the israeli thing. they received the largest amount of our foreign money, but they are also the largest contributor
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to our government. it is like a kickback. you speak of the humanitarian thing, what is going on in syria , but they did not have a problem about blowing the both of with the libyans coming over. tell me the difference of that? is it race, or what? as a been on, -- as a vietnam vet, with what they did to the uss liberty, i can't see them being an ally. could you explain that please? the liberty thing occurred in the midst of a war. accidents happen. .ook at for example ourselves friendlye killed with fire because we called in a bomb strike and got the wrong coordinates. that is the official version of what happened, and obviously people can draw their own conclusions.
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with respect to aid to israel, we do provide a lot of military aid to israel. over the years we have provided economic stability funds as well. investment in technology and in self-defense for israel? importantnk is a very investments. technology that we have used has protected israeli citizens and communities from rocket attacks from the gaza or from other parts of the region. it has worked. it is technology that actually has a lot of promise in terms of self-defense technology.
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street.it is a two-way i think we benefit from it, and clearly the israelis do as well. it is a relationship that is not without problems, but it is a relationship that i think we need to undergird. host: "washington times" front page this morning, iran and north korea cooperation. what is your reaction to that? concerned about this going forward? guest: all the more reason why we need a robust inspections regime, and we need a robust nuclear rollback agreement, which is precisely what has been negotiated. a disagreements
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that will go forward. i think it is precisely what is needed to make sure that that kind of thing is known and prevented from having any material effect on iran's nuclear capability. proliferation proliferates in secrecy. the whole point of this agreement is to put a lot of sunshine into what is going on in iran so that that kind of secret development can no longer occur. going to see on the agenda when the chinese president comes to washington later this month? guest: there is a cannot play of issues -- there is a panoply of issues. intellectual property protection, chinese hacking into including the breach of 22 million federal and retirees.
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all that has to be addressed. it cannot be annoyed -- ignored. there are human rights issues in china that have to be addressed. there is provocative action by china in the pacific basin that relationshipss with south korea, the philippines, vietnam. of buildingactivity up atolls and coral reefs to become military bases and airstrips, it is a very alarming thing. way to resolve international, territorial disputes, and that behavior is extremely bothersome. i think it is unsettling in the region. it is an opportunity to talk and
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,o exchange i hope candid views and to try to get some commitments out of china. there are also air is bank of -- areas of bank -- cooperation. china is one of our partners and had adhered to agreements and been helpful more often than not in this project -- process. we also need china to help deter the north korean issue we were talking about a few minutes ago. the only relationship a have is with china. it is frayed, there is a lot of difficulty right now. china is the one place we can go to to try to get some helpful morevention to just her extreme behavior by north korea to be try to get them more cooperative in terms of international norms. host: another common ground
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appears to be climate change, "the wall street journal" this morning with the headline that president obama and the chinese president are advancing a climate deal. go to richard, an independent. caller: hello there. how are you doing? guest: good. caller: what you were just speaking of is of great importance to me, but what i actually called about is these refugees. when you see them, there are children and women. i don't see a lot of old people. people 20's, 30's, 40's that are actually in good shape. very good shape. why wouldn't they want to go to baghdad? or to jordan? to join forces against this, rather than run away and leave ?heir country behind i can't relate to that.
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that it would be better for them to try to get rid of their problems rather than run away from the problems. eventually down the road this will cause political and other hardships when these countries taken large quantities of these people. host: do you have any thoughts? , i think most human aings want a better lives -- better life for themselves and their families. i don't think they want to be engaged in military conflict or hostilities. they don't want to sign up for that. certainly going to another country, like iraq, is not a particularly viable option. there is no clear signal they would be welcome. they have their own violence and civil conflict. why would you go from the fire back to the frying pan, if you
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will. i think they are seeking a modicum of safety, ease, and opportunity, and they are fleeing a source of violence that is life-threatening to them and their families. that is a very understandable human reaction. the numbers we are talking about, greta listed the deaths, but the refugee numbers are enormous. syrians, maybe as much as half the population, has fled from the violence. that tells you a lot. not an easy alternatives within syria. we are trying to create one, i am not sure that is going to be successful, because the radicalization of the conflict has proceeded at a pace. we have seen that in other parts
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of the world as well. withutions often start very noble, visionary, all touristic sentiments, but then cynicism sets in in terms of who and otherhe conflict agendas come into play. we have seen that time and again, and we certainly have seen that in syria. i'm not surprised that most of the people fleeing the violence don't want to go back into the violence. they wants to get away from it and try to protect their families. and tragically, they are looking for opportunities and alternatives that can protect them. i think that is a very understandable human reaction, and i don't think that is an outrageous goal or desire on the part of those refugees. we'll go to john in beaverton, oregon. democrat caller. good morning. caller: good morning.
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guest: hi. caller: next thursday you are going to have an immigrant visitor to congress, and i'm just wondering, do you believe that congress is going to be able to listen and really listen of careupon his message for the poor, care for the environment? peace. for do you think they are really going to be listening to him, or do you think it is going to become a media event? ensuretizens how can we that congress, senators, and so on hear the message and work towards that message? guest: what a great question. certainly i think congress will listen. the second part of the question is, and act upon. that is a different matter.
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unfortunately our politics are so polarized that people will hear what they want to hear. what theytake away are predisposed to take away. certain talking about aspects of catholic doctrine, that will fall on certain parts of the hall and the country. and if he is talking about the other doctrines of the church that you cited, that will be heard by others. the famous expression, who am i to judge. well, he is pope. if he is not supposed to judge, then who is you are -- who are you or i to judge? not everyone is comfortable with that. it -- his encyclical, the first
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one he has written, was devoted to climate change and the environment. i made some people uncomfortable, but that is very much part of catholic teaching. i think it is very significant but that is the topic you chose -- but that is the topic he chose for a teaching document. he has an intriguing figure. i think a breath of fresh air on the international scene, a very human person with a human touch. i am very much looking forward to seeing him, greeting him, and listening to him. journalhe wall street those quote says it is one hot ticket. if you can get into see the pope -- do you have a ticket? have one ticket, and my wife made it quite clear that that ticket is going to her. i have another ticket for the stand up to greet him. we are actually going to go
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through a number of firsts. be reaching out to catholic parishes in my district to see if some of those folks would like to avail themselves of this very limited number of tickets. host: you yourself are catholic. guest: i am. host: how important is this to you? your wife made a close -- made it clear. guest: i was 10 when john kennedy ran for president. headlines atr the the time saying, can a catholic me president? ,n other words, our loyalties our patriotism, was under question. that was so offensive to me as a young boy. so i am somebody who really is quite aware of a large part of american history that discriminated against us as we were suspect. we were a foreign religion.
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we are a mainstream religion with the largest and nomination in the united states. i think that question has been put to rest. but to have the pope, for the first time ever, address a joint session of congress, in many ways says a lot about the maturation of american democracy. about diversity, about immigration. i'm just so excited that this historic figure can play that role as the very first to do so. and that my country has come to grips with putting aside the suspicions of the past. we will move on to harry in dallas, pennsylvania. republican. good morning. caller: congressman, i would like to thank you for your support of the iran deal, i think that was the proper thing to do. guest: thank you. caller: the idea that ashton carter went over to israel and give them 1.8 elaine dollars in military aid on top of the
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tenant half-million we give them every day, well we have to borrow money from china, really perturbs me. when a previous color use that israel does plenty for us. i would like to know what israel does for us. withse the way i see it both the iraqi freedom and desert storm -- war, not one israeli soldier served in either war. now take this refugee thing. all these dictatorships have been not -- knocked out of the box by the israeli millturn. is it not a fact that the israeli government controls the united states military. well, where did you get that? that is a big assertion you are making that they control the u.s. military. you have to have evidence of that. me ask you, congressman. do you take money from the
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jewish lobby? that's right, coming off. host: you are still on air harry. guest: i don't stake money from eight jewish lobby. .ost: he is referring to apac think they give money to congressman. i am aware of them, i am aware of j street. harry, the jewish community was as split on iran as anybody else. , werelationship with israel have economic ties with israel. we have cultural ties with israel. bonds betweenlogy a very vibrant technology community in israel and here in the united states. hasome county of fairfax been very active in dealing with technology in israel.
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cooperationmilitary , you said that no israeli soldier fought in the gulf wars, well that was because we did not want them to. you may recall, take the first gulf war when president george h w bush was president, we went to great lengths to try to provide defensive protection to israel when saddam hussein was sending -- scuds intorael israel. we needed to make sure that did not happen or it and to israel's credit, they exercise in or miss self-restraint -- they exercise enormous self restraint. the bond is deep, it involves technology, the economy, military. i think a relationship of
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in a sea of ac -- instability in the region. we need to find a path towards these. of time onnt a lot that process with the netanyahu government. his commitment to peace was certainly in question during his reelection campaign because he denounced a two state solution, which is the official policy of our government and his. that created some real problems. i hope over time we are going to be able to work this out now that this iran agreement is behind us. leah is watching us in rosenberg, texas. a democrat. you are on the air. caller: yes, good morning. leah, i am so glad to hear there are democrats down there. caller: i am a very strong democrat. my question is this. does israel wants to it --
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wants to attack iran? think about it. we never saw the treaty. they said that is not good, not good. they never think any treaty is good enough. they have only one thing in mind. they want to destroy iran. ok, so that sounds like more of your opinion than a fact. we will have to congressman jump in. i think think what -- the lying you are referring to is the police of prime minister netanyahu has already decided a priority. that any solution to iran is a military solution. i must confess i have that
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impression as well. when that agreement was negotiated with iran, it has been in place there for two years and has worked. prime minister netanyahu criticized it, call the an existential threat to israel, it wasn't worth the paper it was signed on. in this agreement he has said, as an alternative, why not just extend the existing agreement, the one he denounced two years ago. so with credibility is somewhat questionable with respect to this issue. not his commitment to israel. his sincerity about protecting israel, i don't question that at all. but i think that his attempt to undermine this agreement here in the united states, the activity of both him and his ambassadors. the last time i can think of in american history where, for example, an ambassador has played that kind of role, delivered lead to undermine the
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government,cy of a was someone during george washington's term in office. and i don't approve of it. everyone gets to have their own and take in to come the eye of the president of the to undermine and to denigrate an agreement at that point not yet finalized -- not proper. i don't think it has caused any good. i think that is true if you look at the results. it certainly did not have a great impact on my side of the aisle with respect to erosion of support for the negotiation. the vice chair of the new democrats coalition.
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this is a headline, you plan assertive new action in the house. what are you planning on? guest: the new democrat voice is sympathetic to a relationship with business. it is a high-tech coalition. generally a pro-free trade .oalition it wants to see the united states be competitive for the next generation. that means we need to make investments and research development, investments in education, investments in infrastructure. any greatcritical for country to be great and stay great. we are retreating on all three as a country. so we are trying to foster that agenda and to play a constructive role within our party and with the other party. on tradele, the vote promotion authority was a vote largely negotiated between the new democrats and speaker
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boehner and republican leadership. a very mutual situation. it saves the day. we worked on a bipartisan basis. it was very effective. i think we are known to step up to the plate, respectfully, we are democrats, committed democrats. we share democratic values. we also believe in compromise and in working with the other side when we can. we think we need more of that, not less of that in today's political environment. >> on the next washington discuss we will news of the day. we will also talk about republican efforts to defund planned parenthood really live each morning at 7:00 eastern on
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c-span. >> are wrote to the right house -- the road to the white house coverage continues in new hampshire. speakers include five presidential candidates. former governor of rhode island lincoln chafee. on c-span and c-span.org. taking you on the road to the white house. thet a luncheon hosted by christian science monitor, samantha power previewed the upcoming u.n. general assembly meeting. she also took questions on a variety of issues including russians of work for the syrian government -- russian support for the syrian government.
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this is one hour. here we go. i am dave cook from the monitor. thank you for coming. power.here with samantha she wrote a stirring op-ed for the washington post, calling on the u.s. government to do more to win the release of a u.s. correspondent. i was the editor of the monitor so that meant a lot to me.
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she won a pulitzer prize for her book. the guest went on to become a harvard kennedy center of government. u.n., she was a special assistant to the on the national security council staff. she and her husband are the parents of two young children. biographical portion. now on to mechanics. no live logging are tweeting. kind while they breakfast or lunch is underway to give us a chance to listen to says.ur guest to help you curve that relentless selfie urge, we will e-mail pictures as soon as the lunch ends. if you would like to ask a
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question, send me a subtle nonthreatening signal. off bygoing to start offering our guests the opportunity to make some comments. samantha: thank you for coming. do isght what i would dedicate a few minutes to talk about the general assembly. it is the 70th anniversary. more heads of state are descending on new york then we have seen in the life of the event. the pope is also visiting. it will be a bad time to drive on the east side of manhattan.
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perhaps because it is the anniversary, perhaps because the secretary general is entering the last part of his term. for a host of reasons, there is a lot of soul-searching. there always is every general assembly. the fact of the assembly coming ofether reminds people previous occasions. they used the gathering to mobilize the international community around ebola. we were passing around charts a milliond you have
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infections by january, 2015 if the curve was not bend. figures,e looking at five new cases. that intoigher than the fall. that is the example of collective action at work. it shows the even though there , it wasw start of cost an example of the international community building the airplanes that flew in an important way. the nuclear deal over iran is has hardened not just the security council but the broader membership. there is a belief in new york that this is the way the u.n. should work. a country acting in violation of
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international norms. calling on the road country to come into compliance with international norms. we've come to the table. we secure an agreement. international peace and security cuts off the pathway to a nuclear weapon. sense that this is an exemplar of what the international community can do. on the one hand, and then on the other you have biblical kind of perceptions from the coast of descending on the doorstep of europe. comparables of
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images off north africa. the sending on italy earlier in the year. comingopean union looking for an authorization to take a set of steps to stem the flow in a responsible way. shipsen in east asia, floating and being claimed by nobody. burmaight of people in and others. putting everything on the line. nefarious smuggler networks. if you need a more vivid testament, there is none than that. questions about the
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burden sharing and the syrian conflict in particular. the long and elusive solutions. to review what president obama will be doing when he travels to new york for the general the first day he arrives he will participate in in which the sustainable development goals are in greased -- embrace. these are goals that are the sequel to the previous millennium goals which were the post 2015 agenda. it is a series of goals to end inequality and extreme poverty for the first time, it is an agenda that interweaves the environmental agenda and they need to take care of oceans, and curb carbon emissions into the anti-poverty, traditional economic agenda. it is an important set of goals and targets.
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it is a long set of goals and targets. the president will join other heads of state embracing those those goals. these are goals that will take another 15 years. the mgd's had an interesting and unexpected effect in that you started to see ministers in the developing world measuring themselves and their performance on the basis of how they were faring next to the goals. now we have a new set of goals. donors will channel resources around those goals. it is an important agenda. if these goals were realized, some of the causes of conflict as well would be addressed.
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of course we cannot deal with conflict, but root cause. he will also on his second day in new york convene along with a number of other heads of state in the secretary-general and unprecedented peace keeping summit. you might say why the united states does not have a large number of blue helmets, it turns out we are calling on you in peacekeepers to do more and more difficult places. the supply of peacekeepers is being outstripped -- one only needs to read the newspaper to see. there have been some noteworthy changes in peacekeeping since some of us covered the conflicts in the balkans in the 1990's. it used to be that european peacekeepers were 40% of u.n. peacekeeping, and the 90's they
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had 25000 peacekeepers, today europe only constitutes 6000 peacekeepers. the number around the world is way higher than it was in the 1990's. you have a situation where some of the developing countries are doing the peacekeeping and developed countries like the united states and the other big donors to the u.n., paying for. it is extremely important that places where extremism can fester that those capabilities be enhanced. the mandates have gottten more robust. but the capabilities of the troops on the ground are not what they need to be. the blindness of the peacekeepers because of the lack of the ability to know which
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extremists are where, is a liability. president obama is putting with his feet. vice president biden chair of the midsummer last year, working with the secretary-general of the u.n. to try to mobilize troop contributions from other countries. it is a pledging conference, many heads of state -- we now have more than 40 who have signed up in order to speak. a head of state has to make an announcement on what they will be contributing. lastly on everyone's mind, the president's final day in new york, he will convene a summit on counter terrorism. the first section will be the anti isil coalition.
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create a new set of obligations in terms of u.n. states in preventing the lifeblood for isil. the third segment will be countering violent extremism. that has to involve religious leaders. in order to really capture people before they become terror fighters and before the situation where you are in military conflict, community action will be indispensable. you will have very different countries participating in each segment. the very last thing i will say --
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>> this is really my last question. samantha: i want to say we have been doing a campaign called free the 20, u.n. women will be convening a high-level meeting, a head of state meeting 20 years since the beijing summit on women's empowerment. unfortunately, all around a world including china, many women will not be participating in this conference and are not participating in civic life because they have been in prison or speaking up against sexual harassment or corruption every day leading up to this event that will be convened again at the u.n., we are profiling one woman political prisoner. i have a chart.
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we have a visual. each woman's picture is being hung in the facade of the u.s. mission to the united nations. as heads of state walk-in they will be able to see the prisoners being profiled. we are working actively, diplomatically to free these women. >> we will go right to my colleagues, starting with jonathan, michael, karen, george , rachel, jessica, ivan, and paul. that should get us through the time. we will do one by one.
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>> the first time in 10 years he will attend the u.n. obviously the number one issue will be now that ukraine has come down a bit, syria. the fact that his foreign minister talked about the creation of an antiterrorist front. how does the united states handle this given the fact that the united states is opposed to any kind of intervention that will stabilize asaad. but united states has an interest in keeping him where he is to creating a vacuum where isis or isil could move and
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create even more chaos in syria. samantha: let me address the assad question first. it is a myth that assad and his laborers have been directed at isil the time in which they have established a safe haven for themselves in syria. i believe the new york times documented a series of transactions between them and a series of regimes. the ongoing presence of a sod, but more than that the ongoing tactics he pursues in trying to retain power, namely, gassing his people, barrel bombing his
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people, arresting peaceful protesters or anyone suspected of dissent, and of course the mass torture that has occurred in syrian prisons some of these as my british colleague said yesterday in the meeting, every barrel bomb that syria and assad drop is a gift to isil. we have made clear from the beginning that he is going to require a robust coalition to defeat isil. the idea of doubling down the approach to treat isil and moderates and civilians in hospitals as equally worthy target, that is a perilous approach.
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our shared interest is shared with russia is degrading and the feeding -- defeating isil. the approach of supporting a regime that has helped fuel the rise of isil is a misguided approach. it is not the approach we will take. >> michael gordon from the new york times. michael: i would like to follow up on that question, jonathan remarked on the russian military moves, but in the diplomatic sphere i would like to asked related questions. the russians sometimes and
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have suggested they are not wedded to assad. and your experience has there ever been a serious proposal by the russians to work with the united states women i towards a political transition. have they ever seriously proposed that? lastly, in the foreign ministers call with secretary kerry yesterday, they apparently floated the notion of military talks between russia and united states over the syria situation. do you think that would be a useful step to take at this juncture because the russian's assertion is they would go after the islamic state. not other parties. thank you. samantha: thank you. let me say a couple of things
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about russia's posture towards political talks. they called for the creation of a governing body by a mutual can and -- consent. on the one hand that gives the government and the asad regime a say in what the body looks like. it also gives the opposition a veto, as well. there is no scenario in which by mutual consent the opposition would agree to something that where assad stayed. i know also prior to some of these news reports around stepped up military supplies that we in the council actually agreed to a presidential statement supporting effort
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which included -- we explicitly wrote this in the statement, negotiations to give rise to a negotiating body. most recently there is a refresh in which they signal that. moreover, we have been engaged in intensive communication with stakeholders in the region in order to see what kind of flesh one could get to that idea a transitional governing body. moscow has been inviting to its capital opposition politicians as well as regime politicians as a way of getting a sense of the opposition.
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what i have described is -- those are the rough contours of russia's investment in the political process. they claim that notwithstanding this apparent infusion with military hardware to still be committed to a political solution. that is why we are engaging with them at the highest levels to try convey of course it is not tenable to think that you can defeat isil. to stress again, there is no military solution. if any actor goes it all in on the military side, if there is a risk happening now, that will prolong the conflict. it will enhance the risk of further chemical weapons. overtime of course, strengthen isil's hand.
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the extent of our dialogue at this point is diplomatic. >> do you think that is a good idea? samantha: i think we are talking in diplomatic channels. >> there was a story in the new york times this morning about a possible meeting between president obama and putin there where would they would talk about syria. do you have anything you can say about that? samantha: there are a lot of questions like that one task -- one can ask. >> i have a question. do you have any information about separatists in eastern ukraine who have been blocking assistance since august.
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is that something you can confirm? samantha: i would like to get back to you with details. that is probably a specific shipment you are referring to. i will get back to you. >> now that that the european problem seems to have refocused attention, certainly by congress on the syrian issue and there is a series of hearings this week. both republicans and democrats seem fairly united at this point on voicing their opinion about about the administration strategy not working. increasingly there are calls for forward movement on some kind of something that would change the equation.
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i am wondering if you have seen the same feelings among your security council colleagues. are they advocating for a change in policy? is there more pressure to change the military strategy in any way that would stop the exodus. that would stop the isis advance. and whether to engage with or against asad. also could you update us on the status of the efforts. samantha: i think for all of the dissatisfaction with the horrors on the ground and graphically
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embodied by the death of the young boy on the beach. and so many families who have suffered and are now visible because they are descending into european cities there are on the hill and every where else a great plurality of use -- of views on what should be done. they run the gamut. it is true on the question of anti-isil campaign. in the security council you see something comparable. certainly there is an urgency in light of the high-level european discussions about it is -- quotas and resettlement and how
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to cut off the problem at its source so that these flows can be taking care of -- taken care of. you have that strand, but recall in the security council you also have again, and approach embodied by some of the comments michael alluded to. and jonathan alluded to by russian officials that says the way to deal with this problem is to double down with the regime that has from our standpoint caused the problem. the core differences in terms of what the root causes are of the refugee flow and all of the suffering and liza viso -- and live -- lies of isil, it appears -- certainly we are very interested in the wake of the
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iran deal in taking advantage of the unity and what i described in the beginning, a positive feeling about what unity can actually yield in new york, but without -- we need to get past this fundamental disagreement in terms of what because of terrorism as -- is and how to combat it. those divisions do not appear to have abated. the fact that we have more meetings and heart rate, that has not changed yet -- break that has not changed yet. >> ambassador, you have worked with diplomats from all over the world, the whole world is always watching us, i am curious as to what you are hearing from folks
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about what they think about what is going on in this country in the presidential race. the kinds of things being said. do you sense any interest in what is going on among diplomats and leaders? what are you hearing? samantha: trying to think of a diplomatic answer. [laughter] i have not done a straw poll. but my guess on the basis of the feedback i get in the hall is that the unprecedented viewership of the first republican debate that some modest share of that spike came from other countries ambassadors watching the debate. in other words, i think there is more interest at this stage of the election in some of the more colorful aspects of the primaries then there might have
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been in the past. look, there is a deep interest in who runs america. i think as things move on i will hear more. until things settle, you do not hear about specific individuals. you just hope that cooler heads prevail and continue to exercise leadership in accordance with international norms, and will continue to want to build multilateral coalitions. an appreciation for what president obama has tried to do
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and the perceived return to the u.n. there is even more appreciation for those investments. >> could we get clarity on what you are saying about syria. you have made clear that you think there is a difference on premises. you have made clear that doubling down as a bad path to follow. you have noted there were meetings in moscow. it is possible for an optimist to look at that and say abb russians are doing two at the same time. when you say they are doubling down, is that the nature of a final assessment of what their intentions are? is there really anything on the to track worth exploring with the russians?
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samantha: we are going to continue in the aggressive way that secretary kerry has been added -- at it over the last few weeks to engage russia diplomatically. i do the same in new york every day with my russian counterparts. we mean what we say, there has to be a political solution. there is no military solution. in terms of what russian intentions are in this moment and what the infusion of military hardware connotes, i think that is another reason to continue the dialogue and to make plane again the respective i've shared here which president obama articulated forcefully on friday. we also need to take note that we all have an interest in defeating isil -- as the president said on friday, they pose a threat that of course will get president putin's attention. it is extremely important that in addition to collectively figuring out how to bring a
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political solution for its own sake, it is also clear that that is the solution overtime to being able to wipe out a movement that has been constant self a part of syria. i am not passing judgment at all about what the intentions are, i think some of the comments that senior russian leadership have made suggests again that asad's military approach is one that requires more support and help. fundamentally we believe that the political track and sending a different message to asad, mainly that your country will be destroyed if you do not see fit to engage in negotiations in a manner that produces this transition which will cause not
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everyone in syria to put guns down, but to get a critical mass of actors to embrace a political settlement, all of this will be in a stronger position against isil. >> questions about topics that have not come up, how concerned are you on development the northern ireland? do you see a u.s. role in keeping the good friday accords going? secondly, with president xi coming next week, it is hard to remember any summit in recent years with more problems. why should we not expect that summit to be a train wreck? samantha: does it have to be a train wreck? look, i think -- let me take the china question first.
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i will ask my colleague to supplement. as everyone has said, and it has become plainer, this is a complex relationship. every day, whether it is on south sudan or an anti-isil measure in new york, or a peacekeeping summit where china has semantically expanded contributions to peacekeeping, we are working with china on issues that are very much in the u.s. national interest. by the same token, whether it is on cyber threats, freedom of navigation, human rights, one of the most important features of the free the 20 campaign are the chinese women. what you will see is
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plainspoken, public comments about disagreements. not papering over the problems on which we disagree. engaging in the internal meetings where we are in areas of disagreement. in general the approach of this administration as -- is on disagreements that will come up, it is extremely important to engage, it is no secret that president xi is an extremely powerful leader of a country that is of course extremely important on the global stage print that kind of dialogue at that level is something that you
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want to take advantage of to try to unlock progress print on northern island, i will say that the situation is worrying. in northern island, i will say that the situation is worrying. traditionally, i know this is some thing that comes from someone from ireland, i think that the united states role is always welcomed. i think that we are in a situation now where it is politics as usual. the parties themselves have taken responsibility up to this point. whatever nudging the united states can do from behind the scenes, ultimately this will have to be settled. among the parties on the ground. >> i do not have more. george, if you have more specific details we can meet after.
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>> they said today that the plan to accept refugees was modest, they said the country should be ready to accept 100,000 syrians. what is your thought on that? lastly, the president called on an emergency response to the ebola request. can we anticipate a similar request and would some of the funding be used for refugees here, or go to u.s. programs on the ground. samantha: thank you for the question it is important. i think after this point, the united states have received 17,000 referrals. cases are on candidates eligible for resettlement. president obama has made clear the number we have been able to
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resettle up to this point is insufficient. i would note that over the life of the obama administration, we have managed to resettle 140,000 iraqi refugees. i think that has gotten less attention. it has been an up-and-down program. we have made significant improvements in the system. we are able to welcome people in desperate need, but also make sure that we have a vetting, and screening measures in place where we would have confidence that the people coming are not taking advantage of the program who are plotting are doing
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something anti-u.s. security. i think it has been strengthened overtime. the flow of iraqi's shows that. the start up around a syria program -- start up costs around the syria program have been significant. in terms of what the overall number will be next year, we are assessing that. i think it was important that the administration came out and make clear that at a minimum we would go from 1500 to 10,000. there are diverse views on a hill -- on the hill. this traditionally is done in a manner where we try to come to some consensus with people on the hill. the conversation is picking up. we welcome the proposal, we will consider it carefully. we will need to make sure that all of us collectively, whether for 10,000 or a higher number
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that all of us who have had the experience of working with refugees families, that the american people view themselves as much -- messengers for the kind of country we have been overtime and the kind of country when he to be. too often, particularly in a political season, the loudest voices are the ones that are unwelcoming for people coming from other countries. most americans have had the experience of feeling a great pride we all feel in terms of those we have been able to shelter in times of need. your second question was -- >> emergency programs for the united nations. samantha: the united states has given more than any other u.n. country. the spoken preference for most refugees was to stay nearby in the hope they would return home
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soon print other countries with the same language or they had the chance to integrate, the united states has actually spent $4.1 million on the life of this crisis. $2.1 billion on refugees alone. the you and appeals are woefully underfunded. two weeks ago, thousands of refugees in lebanon were sent a text message saying that there food rations would be cut off. that is becoming routine. one of the things we will be using the pope visit to do is to try to leverage our contributions and also try to mobilize contributions, not only from other countries who have not been as generous as the united states has been up to
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this point. also the private sector, citizen action foundations, there are a lot of people who are deeply moved by what they are seeing. the united states has a tradition of combining u.s. government resources with that of other nongovernmental actors. president obama is committed to using his pulpit.
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-- wouldin netanyahu the general assembly coming up, there have been talks of another resolution coming up. with the u.s. veto this type of resolution as it has been done -- in the past? perhaps they are open -- samantha: i can't speak about hypotheticals because in my world, every day, there are different initiatives that are floated. right now, we're all very focused on the escalating tensions in jerusalem and the status quo, it's a very de-stabilizing situation right now. you know, in terms of what would
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happen at the security council, it's very hard to say what we would do. what president obama has always said, anything that would undermine israel security or is bias or one-sided, the united states would oppose. we opposed something like that in december 2014, where there was a resolution put forward that was just imbalanced and not something that would have advanced the cause of the peace in the middle east. just last week, i'm losing track of time, there was an effort -- a successful effort to raise the palestinian flag. i made clear, in voting against the resolution, that it is not
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tenable. there has to be solutions with the two-state solution. you can't short circuit the very difficult issues that have -- that the parties have not been able to get passed, up to this point. so, i think, you know, we have never reassessed the depth of our relationship with israel, the security partnership with israel. we'll be sitting down with israeli officials and figure out how to deal all the other threats iran poses
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to the region via terrorists or other forms of threat and so, again, as part of those discussions, i'm sure the un issues will arrive. >> can we do five minutes? >> yeah, we can do five minutes more. >> last week, in the house of representatives, they introduced a solution, recognizing islamic states targeting religion. this is near and dear to your own heart. what -- what sort of is generally your response and is this something like you say, you know, everyone wants to see the defeat of isil. is this another one of those issues that could perhaps find more common cause than the other big-picture issues than the syria and iraq questions? samantha: i think at the united nations, and we'll see this around president obama's summit, there's really widespread unity.
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i mean, the -- needless to say, there's no one in any meeting defending what isil is doing and there is broad unity on -- not on the need to combat them, but broad rec ignition that there needs to be military combat. president obama will say this, i'm sure, at the summit. there has been insufficient
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progress in terms of sharing information and changing laws to prevent travel from those who, again, maybe contemplating joining isil or going for training. you know, we have our work cut out for us and so there's consensus, again, on the nature and the gravity of the threat and isil has asserted its tentacles since last year in additional, you know -- new parts of the world so you have even more countries coming forward to work together and think through, again, how to bring about isil's defeat. but, it will be extremely important, again, for every country to be in full compliance with resolution 2178, for more countries to contribute to the training and military effort in iraq and syria so this is a question of moving beyond an abstract consensus to true burden-sharing. this is going to be a long campaign. the other thing i'd say, on the genocide question, when president obama decided to intervene militarily on behalf of them, he, himself, introduced the specter of genocide. there is no question that
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christians and shi'a and lgbt, if you find yourself a minority of a certain type in isil -- americans -- that has proven a death sentence for many. if not a death sentence, certainly a displacement sentence. having said that, sunni, in isil territory, are also living under horrific hardship and anybody even suspected of dissenting or being in opposition to isil, you have seen them wiped out. they are targeting very specific minorities as such. its monstrous ideologies apply to anybody that doesn't share their world view. >> we will only have time for one more. i apologize to those who were waiting.
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>> i wanted to talk to you about the pope's visit. i would be interested if you could tell us about the u.s. vatican relationship in ways that may not be noticeable. when you talk to people inside the white house and those who are close to them, they talk about both the possibility about how transformational that visit could be for public life and complexity of both welcoming someone who is head of state, but you're not doing it how you normally would do and it is difficult to predict what he'd do and how one takes advantage of this moment. samantha: i think i'd be more modest in my response. it sounds like you've done a lot of thinking about this.
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i will have the privilege of both of getting to be part of an administration that is welcoming the pope here in the united states. i am looking at how is the pope moving global public opinion on a set of issues that are important to the american people and the collective good. i would only note that the -- we are in crunch time when it comes to the climate debate and climate negotiations and we -- through a series of engagements, by president obama himself and most recently with brian deets traveling and following
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up on the work, the united states, in part also because of the regulations that have been put in place, is in a very strong position, again, to lead by example but not all of the major emitters are where we would like to see them and the pope has tremendous way, well beyond his catholic flock so his message, in new york, is going to be extremely important in helping, you know, all of us in the international community try to take much -- more significant steps to save our planet. to put it mildly. but if i could also note that the, i think, as somebody else said, this refugees crisis is something that he, himself, has spoken so eloquently on in the past. i forget how he's put it, the
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globalization of in difference. you know, his trip, you know, as one of his first acts to meet with migrants and one of his very, very kind of, by pope standards, speeches was in africa and he is visiting where the appeal is underfunded and it is a contested issue within our own country as people grapple with how to balance security concerns and how to be generous with our greatest traditions. so we're very eager to hear what the pope says and i think there's a nice convergence of the timing of this trip and a set of issues that could not be more urgent and where we really do need to establish, whether in climate or on dealing with the acuity, not only of the syrians, but the 60 million refugees that exist globally, on deck. >> thanks for doing this, again. appreciate it very much. samantha: thanks.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ >> all persons having business before the honorable supreme court are called to draw near and give their attention. 759, the petitioner versus arizona. >> number 18. ro against wade. marbury versus madison is probably the most famous case ever decided. >> they existed here on land where slavery was not legally recognized. brown into effect would take federal orders and the presence of troops and
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marshals and the courage of children. we wanted to pick cases that changed the direction of the court in society and society. >> so, she told him that they would have to have a search warrant. and she demanded to see the paper to read and see it was. which she refused to do so she grabbed it out of his hands and looked at it and thereafter the police officer handcuffed her. >> i cannot imagine a better way to bring the constitution to life than by telling supreme court cases. korematsu failed to report for the internment camps.
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after been convicted of failing to report he took his case to the supreme court. many of our most famous decisions were once the court took that were unpopular. >> if you had to pick one freedom that was the most essential to the functioning of the democracy it is freedom of speech. >> lets go through a few cases that illustrate dramatically and visually what it means to live in a society of 310 million different people who stick together because they believe in the rule of law. landmark cases, an historicon of 12 supreme court decisions and the human stories behind them. a new series on c-span. debuting monday october 5 at 9:00 p.m.. as a companion to our new
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series, landmark cases the book. it features the 12 cases we have selected for the series with a brief introduction into the background, highlights and impact of each case written by tony mauro. published by c-span and congrats -- cooperation with congressional orderly press. it is available for $8.95 plus shipping and handling. >> a signature feature of book tv is our all-day coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country with top nonfiction officers. new the end of september we are in new york for the brooklyn book festival celebrating its 10th year. in early october it is the southern festival of books. the weekend after that we are live in austin for the texas book festival and near the end of the month we will cover two on the same weekend.
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it is the wisconsin book festival in madison and on the east coast, the boston book festival. at the start of november we will be in portland oregon for word stock. at the end of november we are live to the 18th year in a row from florida for the miami, book fair international. that is on c-span2's book tv. general lloyd austin, the head of u.s. central command gave an update on the military mission to combat isis at a senate the defensediscuss department inspector general investigation that they have skewed intelligence related to isis. john mccain chairs the armed services committee. this is two hours.
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sen. mccain: well, good morning. we meet today to receive testimony on the united states strategy and military operations to counter isil. i want to thank our witnesses, general austin, for appearing for us today and their continued service to our nation. it's been one year since president obama spoke to the nation about the threat posed by isil and increased military operations against us. many of us believe the goal the president laid out is right. many of us agree with a military strategy to combat isil.
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with u.s. and coalition training, equipment assistance and air power. one year into the campaign. if you're not winning in this kind of warfare, you are losing. it is accurate that we have conducted thousands of air strikes against isil, trucks and fighters, bunkers and buildings. this conjures the illusion of success. isis has lost some military margin. isil has consolidated control of its core territories. it continues to dominate sunni areas in iraq and syria and controls many cities. efforts to retake those territories appear to have stalled entirely. isil is expanding globally in afghanistan, yemen, egypt and nigeria and al-shabaab. this appearance of success only enhances isil to recruit and
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grew. the cia's estimates of isil's power has remained constant. it suggests they were wrong to begin with or isil is replacing its losses in realtime. officials at central command skewed intelligence assessments to paint an overly positive picture on the ground. we're currently investigating these allegations, which we take with the utmost seriousness. those responsible must be held accountable, if true. it's not that we're doing nothing to counter isil. it's that there's no compelling reason to believe what we are doing will be sufficient enough to degrading and ultimately destroying isil. the united states and our partners do not have the initiative, our enemies do. they are using it to maintain the
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initiative as they have for the past four years. the situation on the ground is taking another dramatic turn for the worse. recent published report that they believe isil is using mustered gas and may be manufacturing it by
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themselves. whether they are manufacturing these themselves, this is a potential nightmare scenario for our partners in the middle east and for us. at the same time, the united states effort to train and equip syrian rebels to fight isil is clearly and unfortunately failing. the goal was 3,000 fighters in the first year. instead, they have equipped fighters who were killed and captured. this program the administration promised would result in ground force in syria has yet to produce any significant effects on the battlefield. the fixation with perfect vetting is contributing to this failure. far worse has been the administration's requirement that this new force could only fight isil, not the regime which has killed far more than isil.
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they want to authorize the close air support and other military assistance to make sure our syrian partners would be successful. these contradictions were clear from the beginning. they were warned to change force and it is cost money and a lot of time. to continue supporting this program, we need major changes. into this vacuum has now stepped vladimir putin. he is taking advantage. according to media reports, putin has deployed aircraft, armored personnel carriers, russian marines and housing up to 1,500 personnel in western syria. this is an expansion of russian power in the middle east that we have not seen in four decades and it will allow putin to pop up a facade,
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undermine u.s. goals, policies and operations and prolong this horrific conflict. the main beneficiary will be isil. many of us have said from the beginning that the conflict in syria will not be contained and for four years we have seen evidence of that. hundreds of thousands of that, driven and misplaced people, the use of chemical weapons from the west terrorist army in the world. we are seeing the failed policy, the flood of people pouring out of the middle east that has led to the worst refugees crisis in europe since world war ii. the administration has promised to accept 10,000 refugees in the next year.
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until we face this, the refugees will keep coming. isil will grow stronger, the middle east will descent further into chaos and u.s. national security interest will be put at greater risk. for four years, we have been told that there is no military solution to this conflict. as if anyone believes there is. and there are no good options, if any -- as if anybody believes there are. that our influence is limited, as if that has not always been the case. that we will not succeed overnight, that it one of time and not policy. we cannot solve problem in the middle east and as if that devolves us of making the situation better where we can. we have options between doing nothing and evading iraq and syria. many members of this committee
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have suggested options for years. we need to put an end to air power against his people, especially the use of horrific barrel bombs. shoot down blames that drop down barrel bombs that slaughter instant civilians. we need to establish safe zones inside syria. we need air controllers. we need to make significant changes in order to improve and rapidly improve our training. while no one believes we need to invade iraq or syria, the fact
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is we will likely need additional us senator reed: thank you very much, mr. chairman. secretary wormuth and general austin. this continues the military review to counter isil in iraq and syria and its growth in the broader middle east, south africa. through the extreme ideological and brutal tactics, including the reported development and use of chemical weapons, isil has gained control over portions of syria and iraq erasing the border between these two countries. this violent extremist group as slaughtered women and girls and carried out attacks on ethnic minorities and broadcast
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its barbaric acts on social media. to escape the violence of isil, he assad regime and millions ave been displaced or fled outside iraq and syria. this has added to the sense of urgency regarding the need to secure -- security in the region. the military campaign against isil remains complex with no easy answers. while the coalition has pushed some out of the area, including the peshmerga the north, outside iraq and syria. retaking of tikrit by iraqi security forces and along sections of turkey, the self-described islamic state continues to hold key cities. including mosul in iraq. the iraq security forces counteroffenses to take back ramadi has struggled in the last few months. and basr remains contested. the iraq security forces they have stalled in operations near fallujah. and despite the recent setbacks, isil is consolidating controls in the areas in both syria and iraq. the agreement between the united states and turkey,
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expanding access of land and turkish airbases and creating an isil-free zone on the syrian side of the border is an important step forward. however, the deployments of russia of additional military forces to bases in syria under the guise of assisting and countering isil efforts appears to be an effort by putin to prop up the assad regime, further complicating efforts to have security in syria. these have raised concerns of whether our efforts against isil is sufficient. a critical issue of the military lines of effort is the progress the u.s. train and equip programs for coalition-backed forces in both iraq and syria. while the u.s.-led air campaign has had an effect in degrading isil, effective local forces that can take full advantage of coalition airpower seized ground from isil and hold it are essential to success. in iraq, operations to take anbar require getting a significant number of sunnis in the forces and equipping them to resist the isil threat. i'm concerned by reports that
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sunni recruitments have fallen short of its targets and the government of iraq has been slow in delivering equipment to arming sunni forces. in syria, the train and equip program has been -- according to public reports, has experienced a variety of setbacks. we'll be interested in your assessment of this effort. quite interested. and general, i also hope you'll address what you believe might be done to intensify our military operations that counter the isil threat. for example, would you support a more active role for u.s. military personnel in facilitating the engagement of -- with sunni tribes or providing advisors to build institutional capacity or accompanying iraqi security forces on a limited bases when direct contact with enemy is not anticipated? the isil problem is not geographically bounded by syria and iraq, and indeed, as the chairman pointed out, isil have appeared in yemen, afghanistan, egypt, libya, the horn of africa and elsewhere. general, i'm interested in your
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assessment of the group's growth in the region and how centcom is contributed to -- contributing to transregional efforts to combat the group. ultimately, the success of the counter isil effort will depend on a number of nonmilitary factors also, including reforms to the prime minister are implemented and result in a iraqi government that is more inclusive and responsive to the concerns of the sunnis, kurds, religious minorities and other factions in iraq society. whether the international coalition, including states in the region, can counter isil's propaganda, financing and the spread of its extreme ideology and whether a political solution can be found for the crisis in syria. these issues are the primary responsibility of the departments rather than the department of defense. but i assume that our witnesses think they are integral in countering the isil threat. general, i also hope that you will also, to the extent possible, given the ongoing review by the inspector general, address questions involving intelligence assessments with respect to
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isil. it's important that we wait for the inspector general's investigation before completed before making a judgment, but i have no doubt you will take such allegations as seriously as we do in congress and we take them very seriously. like senator mccain, i hope the -- i expect the committee will be kept apprised and be active in terms of the recommendations. let me thank both witnesses for their testimony this morning. thank you, mr. chairman. senator mccain: ms. wormuth. ms. wormuth: thank you, chairman mccain and ranking member reed as well as members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to be here today to give you an update on the military aspects of our counter-isil campaign. it's also a pleasure, as always, to be here with general austin. we work very closely together every day on a range of issues so it's nice to be with him today. as the chairman said it's been over a year since the united states and a coalition of nations began the military campaign against isil. when we began that campaign
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about a year ago, isil was pushing into kurdish territory in northern iraq and pushing towards baghdad. over the past 12 months, isil has lost territory in both syria and iraq, despite advances it's made in ramadi and palmyra. progress has been slow but steady. there are definitely been setbacks in the past year. while not 10 feet tall, isil remains a thinking enemy that adopts to evolving conditions on the battlefield. our train and equip programs in iraq and syria have faced challenges. in iraq, the pace of our program has moved more slowly than we'd like, and in syria, the stringent vetting criteria we're using at the outset of the program has contributed to smaller numbers than we'd hoped for. as the military campaign continues in both countries, we expect there will continue to be challenges clearing and holding territory. but we've also seen progress in the past year. you're all familiar with the successful operations to take back kurdish territory in iraq to defeat isil in kobani and to
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